Why is Ajrakh unique and sustainable fashion?

Ajrakh and the History of Ajrakh
April 20, 2021

The uniqueness of Ajrakh printing

The block-printed fabric was never worn by the Khatris themselves. Khatris used to produce Ajrakh traditionally for the Maldharis or cattle herders just like the Ahirs or Rabaaris within the desert regions of Kutch and Thar. These geometric prints were usually seen within the pagdis (turbans), cummerbands, chaddars, dupattas, lungis, and shawls employed by the Kutchi community. The colors are bright and vivid in order that the herders don’t lose their way within the white desert sands.

Every caste wore distinctive designs and Ajrakh is a component of their cultural legacy. It’s said that cattle herders would go away from their homes within the dark before the sun rose and there was no electricity in those times. in order that they couldn’t distinguish between the front and therefore the reverse side of the material. Double-sided printing ensured that they might wear it both ways.

Sustainable fashion of Ajrakh design

Ajrakh is an example of sustainable fashion. All the colors utilized in Ajrakh come from natural ingredients and biodegradable environment-friendly dyes. The blue color comes from indigo (Indigofera tinctoria); red is obtained from madder root (Rubia tinctorum), alizarin, sappan wood, and lac; yellow springs from pomegranate rind and turmeric; while black is produced from iron rust and jaggery. Other shades are obtained from henna, rhubarb root, and tamarisk.

These days, natural dyes aren’t easy to get. Earlier indigo used to grow wild, lately, it’s priced exorbitantly. Now both indigo and alizarin are available as synthetic dyes, but they’re non-toxic and eco-friendly.

The natural dyes provide a wax-like texture to the material. During summers, the pores of the material expand, making it airy. During winters, the pores of the material close, providing warmth. Ajrakh is thus suitable to wear around the year.

The motifs utilized in Ajrakh are inspired by the universe. It’s an Islamic kind of art where no figures are used. Geometric and floral motifs predominate, inspired by the blues and reds of the evening sky. Carving the symmetrical teak wood blocks for Ajrakh may be a precise skill, which is typically done manually.